Opinion

How is BIM continually transforming construction?

 

Building Information Modelling (BIM) has hit the UK construction industry with full force since the government implemented the BIM Level 2 mandate as a minimum requirement within construction and design companies back in April 2016.

This approach and transformation has since been felt worldwide, altering the way in which designers, architects and construction workers collaborate and utilise data, increasing performance and enabling sufficient cost savings through the reduction in unnecessary waste. Originating from traditional CAD software, BIM 3D modelling has since enabled the development of tools and processes which have influenced industry standards and required training, with the aim to also improve the quality of information provided throughout various operations. 

Responsible for delivering a large number of 3D projects within a number of architectural practices, such as Lovett Fields in Milton Keynes, is Director of BIM at the Building Research Establishment (BRE) Paul Oakley. Also encompassing a background in consultancy, Oakley is behind the implementation of the entire BIM agenda and UK Construction Project Information Committee (CPIC), which has enabled the creation of standards and development of current BIM processes. He has also been spearheading the development of new software which will ensure sufficient cost savings within new and upcoming projects. He says: “I’ve worked not only with designers and architects, but for contractors and manufacturers, all with different points of view.”

BIM Level 2 has now been in operation for over a year, where BRE has been continually working to resolve a number of challenges within standardising methods and procedures. Oakley discusses the current issues of delivering efficient BIM data, placing increased emphasis on the regulation and performance of current BIM tools. He says: “Traditionally, you create a model to specific requirements and put information in, but this doesn’t work in practice because the data standards are completely inconsistent with the people producing it.” BIM Level 2, therefore, is supporting the implementation of new methods to ensure the delivery of tasks through sufficient information management, embedding new roles, responsibility and an element of ownership into upcoming projects. Oakley adds: “You need the process of how you are going to go about doing the modelling, but on top of that you have the whole information management process.”

LEXiCON & COBie

In order to deliver efficient information flows and standardised processes, alongside efficient training and application development, BRE is working in collaboration with the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Construction Products Association (CPA) to improve data standards and develop essential tools, such as a new template tool. Whilst BRE initially aimed for a basic data tool in rectifying data standards, the extent of the issue became larger than originally expected. Consequently, the templated tool will now work to support and enable the hosting and management of new and improved data standards.

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